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In presenting this history of two of the best 
known islands in Portland Harbor, it has been the 
intention of the author to give only the story of 
the early days of those islands, and of the families 
who have contributed to their history. 

It has been truly said that it is human to err, 
and if the reader finds that errors have crept into 
the narrative, it must be expected, as a perfect 
history has yet to be written. 



I. Introduction. — Names of the Island. — 

Area of Islands. — Early Houses, . 7 

II. Titles to Peaks Island. — Captain John 
Waite and Family. — Brackett and 
Trott Lands, 12 

III. The Stone House. — Its Location and 

History. — " The Refuge." — George 
Felt, Jr., and his Massacre. — Indian 
History, ...... 21 

IV. Revolutionary Alarm. — Shipwreck. — 

Harbor Frozen.— A Hermit. — Soldiers 
of the Rebellion. — Regimental Build- 
ings. — Religious Meetings. — Home of 
the Ancestors of Two Famous Ameri- 
cans, ....... 31 

V. Steamboat Lines. — Steamers Kennebec, 

Antelope, Casco, Gazelle, and others, 40 
VI. Family Historie s. — Brackett, Trott, 
Woodbury, Parsons, Jones, Skillings, 
Sterling, Trefethen, Scott, .... 46 
VII. House Island. — The Owners and Some of 

Their History, . . . . .77 


Peaks Island, Frontispiece 

Map of the Harbor, .... Opposite Page 40 
House Island, Opposite Page 77 




Introduction. — Names of Island. — Area of Islands. 
Early Houses. 

" There are no times like the old times — they shall never be forgot! 
There is noplace like the old place — keep green the dear old spot!" 

Peaks Island is not famed in history or 
song. The poet has not sung of its beauties 
and the historian has passed it by, but it has 
its history and its beauties are acknowledged 
by all. 

The earliest voyagers found Casco Bay 
adapted for a playground and a summer 
resort. Christopher Levitt, in 1623, said that 
there was good fishing and much fowl. He 
found plenty of salmon and other good fish 
in Fore River. Michael Mitton told Josselyn 
of seeing a merman who came and laid his 
hands on the side of his canoe and that he 
chopped off one of his hands and that he then 
sank, dyeing the water with his purple blood. 
Josselyn said, "Trouts there be a good store 


in every brook two and twenty inches long." 
These tales were told almost two centuries 
and a half ago to induce people to make onr 
bay their future home. This was before the 
da}'S of the summer resort advertiser. 

The names that Peaks Island has borne 
at different times are of much interest in its 
history. The first known name of the island 
was Pond, but that name was changed by 
George Cleeve to Michael's Island in 1637. 
Probably about 1661 it was called Munjoy's 
Island, for George Munjoy, and then about 
1670 it became known as Palmer's Island, for 
John Palmer, which name it seems to have 
borne up to the re-settlement of the town in 
1 7 16, although it was then sometimes called 
Munjoy's Island. Perhaps soon after the 
town was re-settled the island became to be 
known as Peaks Island, although there is no 
known reason why that name was taken. 
Joseph Peake was a soldier in Capt. Domini- 
cus Jordan's Company in 1744; he may be 
the man for whom it was named, as he must 
have lived at Cape Elizabeth or perhaps on 
the island. There appears no record of any 
person of that name ever owning the island 
before 1741, when it was called Peaks Island. 

The name has no special significance to 


us, but it is well to keep the old familiar 
names of our islands and localities. They 
have long ago become historic and are known 
landmarks. Let the coming generations know 
them by the same names that they are known 
to us. It will make their history much more 
interesting to those who will come to enjoy 
their beauties. 

Peaks Island is the most popular island 
in the bay ; partly because of its accessibility, 
but more from the fact that the visitors feel a 
freedom that they experience on no other 
island. You are allowed to wander unmo- 
lested through the fields, along the shores 
and through their woods, and leave with a 
kindly feeling toward the island and its peo- 
ple. Portland is fortunate to have such a 
playground almost at its very door. 

The cit}' proper has an area of 1,666 
acres, and the islands within the city limits 
have an area of 2,963 acres. The areas of 
these islands are: 

Peaks Island, 

720 acres 

IyOiig Island, 

912 " 

Cushing's Island, . 

266 " 

House Island, 

20 " 

Iyittle Diamond Island, . 

80 " 

Great Diamond Island, . 

468 " 



Crotch (Cliff) Island, . 

114 acres 

Hope Island, 

18 " 

Little Chebeagne Island, 

72 " 

Jewells Island, 

221 " 

Cow Island, . 

28 " 

Ram Island, . 

18 " 

Marsh Island, 

14 " 

Other small islands, 

12 " 


2,963 acres 

Peaks Island is next to the largest of 
them all, and in its widest part is one and 
one-half miles long, and one and one-quarter 
broad. It had, in 1896, a resident population 
of 343. In the early times it was probably 
covered with a growth of hard wood, of small 
size, and bushes. For two centuries there 
was not a regular road or a horse upon the 
island. The farm work was done by oxen. 
The inhabitants were formerly engaged in a 
little farming and a good deal of fishing, but 
of late years the entertainment of summer 
visitors has engaged most of their attention. 

At the time of the Revolution there were 
probably but three houses on the island: 
Thomas Brackett's, Benjamin Trott's, and 
the house near Trefethen's Landing, where 
Capt. John Waite had lived. In 1830 there 
were on Peaks Island thirteen families and 


seventy inhabitants. In 1833 there were the 
following houses there: Joseph Reed's, occu- 
pied by his sons-in-law, Nathaniel S. Millett 
and Walter S. Hatch ; Benjamin Welch's, John 
T. Brackett's, now the Peaks Island House, 
Joshua Trott's (the old Trott house), Luther 
Sterling's (the Mansfield house), Benjamin 
Trott, Jr.'s, with Francis and Charles Wood- 
bury's, near Trefethen's Landing. They 
were all one-story except John T. Brackett's 
and Joshua Trott's, which were two. 

Many families have lived on the island in 
different generations who have had no titles 
to the land, who have been long, long for- 
gotten. It is one of the most beautiful 
islands in Casco Bay, and must increase in 
popularity as the years come and go. It is 
now a community of itself, and the appear- 
ance of the island is the best evidence of its 
prosperity. The outlook from almost any 
point is fine. The view toward White Head, 
and also that from the bluff toward the 
setting sun, is as beautiful as can be found 
on our coast. 

" This is the place. Stand still, rny steed, 
Let me review the scene. 
And summon from the shadowy Past 
The forms that once have been." 


The Titles to Peaks Island. — Capt. John Waite 
and Family. — Brackett and Trott Lands. 

" The Past and Present here unite 
Beneath Time's flowing tide, 
Like footprints hidden by a brook 
But seen on either side." 

The history of Peaks Island commences 
almost with the settlement of Portland, and 
perhaps before. When Capt. Christopher 
Levitt was here in 1623 and the next year, he 
and his men were, no donbt, frequent visitors 
to this island. They were probably the first 
white men to land much there. George Cleeve 
and Richard Tucker settled Portland in 1633 
and built themselves a log house near the spot 
where the poet Longfellow was born in 1807. 
By that settlement they acquired one hundred 
and fifty acres of land each, on Falmouth 
Neck, as Portland was afterwards called. 

In 1637, by a commission from Sir Fer- 
nando Gorges, for letting and settling of lands 
and the islands, Cleeve leased Pond (Peaks) 
Island to Michael Mitton for sixty years, and 
stated that the name should be Michael's 
Island for Mitton, who had married his 


daughter, Elizabeth. Cleeve. The island was 
at first called Pond because of a pond upon 
the eastern side, which still exists except in 
the dryest times. The title was confirmed to 
Mitton by Gorges in 1642, and again by 
Cleeve, as Alexander Rigby's agent, in 1650. 
Michael Mitton lived at Cape Elizabeth, near 
the end of Portland Bridge, on a lot deeded to 
him by Cleeve, in Rigby's name, in 1650. 
Mitton died in 1660, and Cleeve probably about 
ten years later — a very old man. 

Elizabeth (Cleeve) Mitton, then a widow, 
conve}^ed Michael's Island to John Phillips, a 
merchant of Boston, in 1661, and George 
Munjoy married his only daughter, Mary 
Phillips. Their daughter, Mary Munjoy, 
married John Palmer. Munjoy improved the 
island and built a stone house upon it before 
the year 1670, and probably fish stages and 
flakes. There is no evidence that he ever 
occupied that house. No other island has 
been called Munjoy's Island in the records. 
George Munjoy's place of business and dwell- 
ing-house were on the lot on the west corner 
of what is now Fore and Mountfort Streets, 
but of course must have extended along Fore 
Street. The house was fortified and known 
as " Munjoy's Garrison." The seashore then 


was almost to the street and there was an un- 
obstructed view of the harbor. 

John Palmer, Munjoy's son-in-law, and his 
family lived on Peaks Island several years 
before 1675, in the stone house. Then it be- 
came known as Palmer's Island, as it had 
been given to Palmer's wife by her grand- 
father, John Phillips. Mary Jordan, widow 
of Samuel Jordan, ancestors of the writer, 
stated in her deposition, made in 1741, when 
she was an old lady, that Palmer and family 
lived in the stone house on Palmer's Island 
several years, until the Indians drove them 
off, which was no doubt in 1675, at the be- 
ginning of the King Philip's War. In 1680 
George Munjoy died, aged 54 years. In 1681 
the selectmen of the town "confirmed to 
Mary, daughter of George Munjoy, senior, 
deceased, all that island given her by her 
grandfather, Mr. J. Phillips, by the name of 
Pond Island or Mr. Munjoy's Island." This 
was John Palmer's wife. She and, probably, 
he were carried away or killed by the In- 
dians some years later, and were never heard 

Peaks Island was claimed by the posterity 
of Cleeve and Mitton, and the owners of the 
Phillips' title from the heirs of Mary (Mun- 


joy) Palmer, who were then Parson Thomas 
Smith and Capt. John Waite. Anthonj^ and 
Joshua Brackett were the Mitton heirs, and 
in 1 741, at York, there was a lawsuit relating 
to the title of four thousand acres of land, in 
which Peaks Island was included. Parson 
Smith says in his journal, under date of June 
23, 1741 • "Our great case came on this 
morning, and was not finished till between 
nine and ten at night. " The next day he 
says: "The jury brought in against us"; 
but in 1742 he claimed to own one-third part 
of Peaks and the same of House Island. The 
case of the title to Peaks Island was again 
tried in the Inferior Court in 1762; this time 
by Capt. John Waite, probably alone, and 
again in the Superior Court in 1763, when it 
was decided that the Phillips' title, repre- 
sented by Capt. Waite, was entitled to two- 
ninths of the island, which was called 134 
acres and 54 square rods. Parson Smith 
seemed not to have shared with Waite in that 
award. He left the following memorandum 
in his own handwriting: "Capt. Waite recov- 
ered against the Bracketts two-ninths, i. e. 
one-ninth he purchased of Pullen and wife 
(Palmer heirs), which some years before I 
had purchased of them and the deed recorded ; 


whether that may not be considered my pos- 
session." Pullen sold his share twice, and 
Capt. John Waite got the title of the whole 
two-ninths, which was set off on the north 
side of the island. The line then established 
is now from the centre of " Spar Cove," on the 
back side of the island, looking to the second 
chimney from the north end of the Maine 
General Hospital, and the remains of a stone 
wall can be seen which divided the land. 
This includes all the land about Trefethen's 
and Evergreen Landings. 

Capt. John Waite was a singular and 
eccentric man. He was born in 1700, and was 
the son of Jonadab Waite, of Newbury, Mass. ; 
was the captain of a coaster that ran between 
Falmouth and Boston as early as 1737, and 
first lived about where the Portland Company 
shops now are. His wife was Sarah Kent, a 
daughter of John Kent, Jr., of Newbury, whom 
he married in 1724. She died Jan. 22, 1773, 
aged 69 years. Captain Waite was selectman 
of the town four years. He enjoyed the soli- 
tude of the island and built himself a house 
near Trefethen's Landing. It is said that he 
built two fire-places in one room, one for him- 
self and wife and the other for the servant. 


In moving to that house he was, as Parson 
Deane wrote, 

" Seeking quiet, sought in vain 
In courts and crowds of busy men."' 

He had ten children and a distinguished 
posterity. His children were Benjamin, born 
in 1725, who was major in Col. Samuel Waldo, 
Jr.'s regiment in 1762 ; Hannah, born in 1727 ; 
Sarah, born in 1730; Col. John, Jr., born in 
1752; Stephen, born in 1754; Abigail, born 
in 1739; Mary, Isaac, Rebecca, and Emma. 

Col. John Waite, Jr., married, in 1758, 
Hannah Jones, daughter of Phineas Jones, 
and she died Dec. 14, 1807, aged 69 years. 
They had thirteen children. Colonel Waite 
did not reside on the island, but was a large 
land owner there for over fifty years. 

Colonel Waite was the captain of the 
schooner Jolly Philip, and his vessel was in 
the expedition to the Bay of Fundy, in 1755, 
to remove the Acadians from the Basin of 
Minas, and carried a cargo of them to Georgia. 
That is a sad story. The transporting of 
those poor French people is described as where 
"might took the place of right and the weak 
were oppressed and the mighty ruled with a 
rod of iron." It was when "wives were torn 
from their husbands, and mothers, too late, 


saw their children left on the land, extending 
their arms in the wildest entreaties." 

They were the neutral French mentioned 
in the histories of those times. Many tears 
have been shed for those unfortunate people 
by the readers of Longfellow's Evangeline, 
and no excuses for that act have been fully 
satisfactory, and never will be as long as man 
has an atom of human sympathy. 

Col. John Waite, Jr., commanded the sloop 
Swallow, that was impressed into the Louis- 
burg expedition, of 1757, under the Earl of 
Loudon, which ended so unsuccessfully and 
unsatisfactorily. In 1759 the same vessel 
was impressed into the expedition to Quebec, 
which was composed of about a hundred sail, 
under the command of Commodore Sir Charles 
Saunders. Colonel Waite was an eye-witness 
to the operations of the siege and saw the fall 
of that city when the gallant General Wolfe 
was killed. 

Colonel Waite was captain of the battery 
in Col. Samuel Waldo, Jr.'s regiment in 1762, 
sheriff of the county for over thirty years, 
colonel of a regiment of militia at the time of 
the Revolutionary War, and a conspicuous 
patriot of Falmouth Neck during those trying 
times. He died Jan. 20, 1820, aged 88 years> 


having been an active and prominent citizen 
of Portland. 

Capt. John Waite, the father, was living 
on Peaks Island in 1765, and Dr. Deane visited 
him and in his journal calls it "Capt. Waite's 
Island." The two-ninths of the island came 
into the possession of Col. John Waite, Jr., in 
1805, and then the other seven-ninths were 
owned by Benjamin Trott and Thomas Brack- 
ett with his son John. Capt. John Waite died 
Nov. 3, 1769, aged 69 years, and was buried 
in the Eastern Cemetery. 

The balance of the island, or seven-ninths, 
which the Court decided belonged to the 
Mitton heirs, was the southern part. This 
land came into the possession of the Brackett 
family, because Thomas and Anthony Brack- 
ett married the daughters of Michael Mitton. 
On the re-settlement of the town, Thomas 
Brackett's grandsons, Anthony and Joshua, 
sons of Joshua, returned and claimed their 
land, among which was Peaks Island. Joshua 
Brackett sold his part of the island to Ben- 
jamin Trott, who had married his daughter 
Thankful in 1761. The deed was dated Feb. 
5, 1762, andfsays together with "my dwelling- 
house and barn with appurtenances." The 
consideration was £26 13s. 4A. The house 


was a large, two-story wooden one and stood 
about opposite the Bay View House, on the 
other side of tjie Avenue. 

Benjamin Trott sold his land with his 
stock of cattle to his sons, Joshua and Benja- 
min, Jr., for ^40, Oct. 10, 1784. The division 
line between the Bracketts' and the Trotts' 
land was in the ravine south of the Bay View 
House, where a piece of the wall can still be 
seen. This line ran across the island. The 
sons, Joshua and Benjamin Trott, Jr., divided 
their land in 181 2, the division line running 
across the island east to west. Joshua Trott 
had the southerly half and Benjamin Trott, 
Jr., the northerly half. 

Thomas Brackett sold his daughter Mary, 
who had married Joseph Reed, two acres with 
one-half of the wharf, in 1807. This land 
was in front of the present Mineral Spring 
House, and that is their house remodeled. 
This house may have been built by Thomas 
Brackett. The first wharf on the island was 
built opposite that land before 1807. 

" The heaving tide 
In widen'd circles heat on either side." 


The Stone House. — Its Location and History. — 
"The Refuge." — George Felt, Jr., and his 
Massacre. — Indian History. 

" 'Tis pleasant, through the loop-holes of retreat, 
To peep at such a world." 

Munjoy's stone house must have been 
located on the southern point of the island, 
about four rods northeast of the Brackett 
family cemeter}^ fence, on land now owned by 
Mrs. Torrington. Its location is an unsettled 
point in history, but there can be plainly seen 
where sometime a house must have stood, 
which is now unknown in tradition or history. 
When the late Henry M. Brackett plowed the 
land, many years ago, the location of a house 
was distinctly marked by the color of the 
earth. An iron pot was turned out, with 
other articles usually found among the ruins 
of an old house. The ashes and charcoal 
found plainly indicated the location of the 
fire-place. There are clam-shell heaps, near 
the bank, which must have been made in the 
earliest times. Mrs. Torrington, who came 
to the island in 1833, recollects many stones 


about this locality, that have since been 
hauled away, that were so arranged as to 
indicate that they had been placed about a 

The stone house was built there probably 
because then there were two houses on House 
Island; it was in sight of the settlers at Cape 
Elizabeth and the fortified house on Cushing's 
Island, which is claimed was then built. It 
was a sightly location and could alarm its 
builder, George Munjoy, at his garrison house 
on Fore Street, west corner of Mountfort, by 
guns or fire. It was almost in range of the 
fortified house on Jewells Island. These 
houses may not all have been built until after 
this one, but it shows that there was a plan 
in their location. An examination of the 
island shows no other foundation of a house 
where a family would have been likely to 
have lived several years in those times. 

"The Refuge," so-called, off from Central 
Avenue, a few rods southeast of Robert M. 
Gould's cottage, has nothing about it to indi- 
cate a dwelling-house. It was probably a 
place of refuge in the time of the Revolution 
to which the soldiers and the owners drove 
their sheep and cattle to hide them from the 
British cruisers who were prowling about our 


coast. The traditions indicate that. The stones 
were said, by the older people, to have been 
piled into the form of a house, but the}^ were 
probably put there for protection against the 
weather or for a place to defend themselves in 
case they were attacked. 

In September, 18 14, when the British fleet 
was hovering off our harbor and was expected 
to attack Portland, the inhabitants of the 
island thought that they might be obliged to 
leave their homes for safety, and preparations 
were made to go to "The Refuge," on the 
other side of the island, as their fathers had 
done, but the fleet never came. 

The stone house was occupied several 
years by John Palmer and his family, until 
they were driven off by the Indians in the 
King Philip War, in 1675. Then the house 
was probabfy abandoned. The next year the 
tragedy in which George Felt, Jr., and six 
others lost their lives occurred on this point. 
Felt lived at Mussel Cove, now in the town of 
Falmouth. He was the son of George Felt, 
of Broad Bay, and in 1662 married Philippa 
Andrews, daughter of Samuel and Jane An- 
drews. Jane Andrews married for her second 
husband Arthur Mackworth, for whom the 
island of his name was called. 


George Felt, Jr., fled from his home in the 
summer of 1676, because he saw the smoke 
of the burning buildings of the other settlers, 
that had been fired by the Indians. He 
carried his family to Cushing's Island, then 
called James Andrews' Island, where they, no 
doubt, found others who had also left their 
homes. Here they were soon reduced almost 
to starvation, as they had been unable to bring 
much food with them. The men were forced 
to go to Peaks Island for sheep for food, 
understanding the danger. They went on a 
Saturday and the scene that followed is best 
described by Hubbard, who wrote of it the 
very next year. George Felt, Jr., went "soon 
after to Mount Jo}^es Island (Peaks) to fetch 
sheep, where they landed seven men ; but the 
Indians presently set upon them, they pres- 
ently betook themselves to the ruins of a 
Stone House, where they defended themselves 
as long as they could, but at last they were 
all destroyed either with stones cast upon 
them or else with the enemies shot, except 
one, who though at first it was hoped that his 
wounds were not mortal yet soon after died 
thereof. Among them was George Felt much 
lamented, who had been more active than any 
other man in those parts against the Indians, 


but at last lost his life amongst them in this 
too desperate adventure." 

Richard Martin, in his letter at the time, 
said that some of the party were burned in 
the house. The house was set on fire by the 
Indians and destroyed. Little do we realize 
now the terror that this event caused among 
the remaining women and children then left 
on Cushing's Island, who had lost their hus- 
bands and protectors. Felt's wife removed to 
Salem, Mass., married twice there, and died 
in 1709. He was about thirty-seven years 
of age and left four children. The story of 
his father's life is a pitiful one in connection 
with the history of North Yarmouth. 

In writing of the times my father quoted 
the following passage of scripture: a In those 
times there was no peace to him that went out 
nor to him that came in, but great vexations 
were upon all the inhabitants of the country." 

In 1688 another Indian war broke out, one 
cause of which was Governor Andross, in the 
frigate Rose, robbing Baron Castin's residence 
at Bagaduce, now Castine, Me. In September, 
1689, Joseph Prout wrote that there were two 
hundred Indians then on Palmer's (Peaks) 
Island. Major Benjamin Church, the hero of 
the Swamp Fight in Rhode Island in 1675 


(the descendants of some of the soldiers in 
that battle were granted the townships of 
Gorhani and Buxton), was sent here with a 
force to defend Falmonth from an attack. 
The Indians had massacred the inmates of 
the garrison at Cocheco, now Dover, N. H., 
June 27th, and murdered Major Richard Wal- 
dron with many others. They accused him 
of cheating them by not crossing off their 
accounts at settlement and for using his fist 
in the scales when he was weighing and call- 
ing it a pound. He defended himself with 
his sword from room to room until he was 
overpowered by the savages. They took off 
his clothes, placed him in an arm-chair on a 
table and proceeded to torture him in the 
most cruel manner. The Indians obliged the 
family to get them a supper while they were 
dealing with Major Waldron. He was then 
seventy-four years of age. They gashed his 
breast with their knives saying, as they did 
so, "I cross off my accounts, " and then cut- 
ting off his finger joints said to him, " Now 
will your fist weigh a pound? " They cut off 
his nose and ears and forced them into his 
mouth until he became faint from loss of 
blood. Then they killed him with his own 
sword. The Indians killed twenty-three and 
carried away captive twenty-nine. 


Major Waldron's daughter Esther, then 
twenty-five years of age, the Indians probably 
took at that time. She had married first 
Henry Elkins, who died soon after their mar- 
riage, and in 1686 she married Abraham Lee, 
whom the Indians killed at the same time 
they did her father. Mrs. Lee was found at 
Peaks Island with the Indians by a Dutch 
privateer in September. What that young 
woman underwent in that three months will 
probabty never be known, but her sufferings 
in mind and body must have been terrible. 
She was ransomed from the Indians by the 
captain of the privateer, who took her on 
board his vessel, where she was found by 
Colonel Church, who of course proceeded to 
interview her as to the number and intentions 
of the Indians. She said that the party of In- 
dians that she came with to Palmer's Island 
had eighty canoes and that she did not see 
all. The Indians told her that when they all 
got together they would have seven hundred 
men. This may be an overestimate of the 
number there. Captain Davis said there 
were three or four hundred. She could not 
tell whether Baron Castin was with them or 
not, but said that there were several French- 
men in the party. The Indians were probably 


the Norridgewocks, Canadas, and Penobscots, 
and their place of rendezvous was Palmer's, 
now Peaks, Island. The}^ were there for a 
purpose. Mrs. Lee, after leaving Casco Bay, 
married Richard Jose, the sheriff of the prov- 
ince, and outlived him and married the fourth 
time, went across the ocean, and died on the 
Island of Jersey. 

The Indians had been assembling several 
days on Palmer's (Peaks) Island, preparing 
to attack Fort L^tyal and the settlement on 
the Neck, now Portland. They probably had 
little rest in the night of Oct. 20th, as they 
must have been early astir. Peaks Island 
never saw another such a night as that. 
Hundreds of Indians in their war paint and 
feathers were preparing for a surprise. It 
was long before the dawn of da}^ that they 
were quietly embarking in their canoes to 
make their attack on the rear of the town. 
They were armed with guns and were expert 
marksmen. Josselyn says several years before 
this that "it was a poor Indian that did not 
have two guns." They probably proceeded 
around Munjoy Hill into Back Cove, landed 
on its western shore, and were soon dis- 
covered by twelve camp fires, seen by the 
Bracketts, when they were preparing their 


morning meal before making the attack. 
They proceeded to Brackett's, now the Deer- 
ing farm, and were there at dawn of day, 
when a battle was fonght between Colonel 
Church's soldiers and the Indians, during 
which the latter were driven off and the town 
saved, to be destroyed the following year. 
John Palmer was wounded in this battle, but 
not seriously, as he attended a council of war 
in November. 

This is the last record of the Indians occu- 
pying Peaks Island, but it must have been a 
place of common resort for them during the 
years that so many were about the bay, 
which is confirmed by the traditions. 

There was an Indian battle on Jewells 
Island in September, 1676. A party of Indi- 
ans from Arrowsic attacked a party of settlers 
who had fled to that island, on which was a 
fortified house, for safety. The settlers, feel- 
ing secure, were surprised, but after a stub- 
born fight drove the Indians off, several 
being killed, while but three of the English 
lost their lives. Two women and two children 
were taken away by the Indians. 

Those brave early settlers who stayed by 
their homes and their lands, and contested 
their right to occupy them for the purposes of 


civilization, laid the foundation of our state. 
They must have been conscious of the service 
they were rendering to posterity or they would 
have abandoned those rude homes and lived in 
more secure places. 

" All these scenes do I behold, 
These, and many left untold." 


Revolutionary Alarm. — Shipwreck. — Harbor Froz- 
en. — A Hermit. — Soldiers of the Rebellion. — 
Religious Meetings. — Home of the Ancestors 
of Two Famous Americans. 

" Never mortal builder's hand 
This enduring fabric planned." 

The tradition that a company of sol- 
diers of the Revolution paraded on the island 
is probably true. When Capt. Henry Mowat, 
with his fleet of five vessels, arrived in our 
harbor, on the 16th of October, 1775, they 
anchored near the islands, which must have 
been in front of Peaks Island, in Hog Island 
Roads, between House and Hog Islands. This 
was in plain view of Benjamin Trott's and 
Thomas Brackett's houses. Three men de- 
serted from the fleet to Hog Island in a boat, 
and delivered themselves up to the militia 
with their boat. They were Charles Stuart, 
quartermaster, John Elliot and Daniel Sheet- 
land, foremastmen. The people of Falmouth 
Neck, now Portland, then supposed that the 
fleet had come for sheep and cattle for the 


British forces in Boston. There were large 
stocks of cattle on the islands, and for their 
protection a large portion of Capt. Joseph 
Noyes' and Capt. Samuel Knights' companies, 
then stationed on the Neck, were quietly sent, 
at dusk, to guard the sheep, cattle, and hay 
there. The next day the wind was strong and 
the vessels warped up and anchored off the 
town. Late that afternoon the inhabitants of 
the Neck learned that their, then defenseless, 
town was to be destroyed. They had no means 
of defense, not a gun mounted, and were almost 
destitute of powder. The town could have 
been occupied without destroying it, but 
Mowat had secured orders to "burn, sink, and 
destroy, 1 ' and proceeded to do it. He remem- 
bered the "Thompson War" of the May 
before. The burning of Falmouth Neck made 
patriots of all its inhabitants, and placed 
Mowat's name, to an American, among the 
cruel tyrants of history. 


The saddest event that has happened on 
the island in the memory of those now living 
was the wreck of the schooner Helen Eliza, 
of Gloucester, Mass., Capt. Edward Millett, 
of Rockport, Mass., in the great gale of Sept. 


8, 1869. She parted her cables and was 
driven ashore in the darkness on to the rocks 
on the ontside of the island. The crew took 
to the waves, bnt of the twelve aboard, only 
one, Charles Jordan, of Rockport, sncceeded 
in reaching the shore alive. Ten of the bodies 
were recovered. The captain's body was 
found in a cove on the harbor side of the 
island. The vessel was ground to pieces on 
the rocks and strewed along the shore. Long- 
fellow in his poem, "The Wreck of the Hes- 
perus," describes vividly this wreck on Peaks 

"Down came the storm, and smote amain 
The vessel in its strength ; 
She shuddered and paused like a frightened steed, 
Then leaped her cable's length. 

"The breakers were right beneath her bows, 
She drifted a dreary wreck, 
And a whooping billow swept the crew 
Like icicles from her deck." 


The harbor is seldom frozen hard enough 
for persons to cross the ice to the city. The 
writer crossed on the ice from the city and 
returned the same way, Feb. 15, 1875. That 
day a sleigh with two persons went from the 
city and returned with safety. William T. 
Jones then said that the last team he remem- 


bered coining to the island was about 1845, 
about thirty years before. 


Solomon Bartlett, an old but a robust 
man, lived a hermit's life on the Waite land, 
back in the woods, about fifty years ago. He 
was a squatter. After he had lived there 
nearly twenty years, nearly long enough to 
establish a claim to the land, the young men 
of the island, while he was away at one time, 
took up his house bodily and placed it on a 
barren ledge, where he found it on his return. 
This had the desired effect and he left the 


In the War of the Rebellion the following 
young men of the island entered the service 
of their country : James W. Brackett, Wesley 
Scott, and Andrew Fisher served in the gal- 
lant First Maine Cavalry Regiment. Wesley 
Scott was captured by the enemy and died in 
Salisbury Prison, Jan. 2, 1865, aged 19 years, 
6 months, and 22 days, and a monument was 
erected to his memory in the Biackett Ceme- 
tery. Gilman L. Brackett served in the Coast 
Guards and John T. Sterling served on the 
steamboat Greyhound on the James River. 


A few years ago Wilber F. Ricker found 
on the shore on the outside of the island two 
cannon balls which were badly rust eaten. 
One was about the size of a twelve-pound 
solid shot and the other was egg shaped, with 
a ruffle on the largest diameter. How they 
came there is a matter of conjecture, but they 
evidently had laid in the water many years. 
One was added to the collection of war relics 
of the Fifth Maine Regiment Association and 
the other is in possession of the finder. 


The regimental buildings, on the shore 
opposite White Head, are of no particular 
historic interest in themselves, but they have 
been built by the survivors of two of Maine's 
bravest regiments in the Rebellion. Those 
men have made good history for our state, 
and "they have dared to walk with death" 
that we might have a united country. 

The Fifth Maine Regiment was known as 
a fighting one, and no place was too hot for 
them. All that is necessary to say of their 
bravery is that they were one of the twelve 
picked regiments in the " Bloody Angle " at 
Spottsylvania, which was said to have been 


the bloodiest conflict of the war. The}^ took 
more prisoners during their service than they 
ever had names on their rolls, and captured 
six battle flags on line of battle in a hand-to- 
hand fight with the enemy. In their building 
they have one of the best collections of war 
relics in this part of the country. 

The Eighth Maine Regiment bows to none 
for valor shown on the battle field. The sur- 
vivors can tell of the bombardment of Port 
Royal and Charleston, how they raised their 
flag over Fort Pulaski, what they did at 
Drury's Bluff, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and 
how they, under General Sheridan, helped 
chase Lee's army to their surrender at Appo- 
mattox. Their tattered battle flags are now 
silent witnesses that are proudly treasured by 
our state. Neither of these regiments lost 
a flag. 


Up to 1832 the religious services were 
held in a hall that was used for all other pur- 
poses. That year the first school-house was 
built on Peaks Island, and for eighteen years 
served also for a meeting-house. The Rev. 
Stephen Bennett was the pioneer minister. 
He used to row every other Sunday from 
Chebeague Island to preach to the people in 


the school-house. He was an eccentric and 
earnest man who was interested in the good 
of his fellow-man. He was outspoken in his 
remarks, frank in conversation, and had the 
respect and esteem of all. He married, in 
1854, Mrs. Mary A. W. Winship, of Portland, 
where, it is said, he finally moved and died. 

In 1850 a new school-house was built, 
which also served for the meetings. It was 
dedicated by proper services and Rev. Benja- 
min Freeman preached the dedicatory sermon. 
In i860 Rev. W. N. Richardson, a Methodist, 
was appointed pastor, and Nov. 15th a Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church was organized. The 
present church was soon built, and dedicated 
July 25, 1861. Rev. C. C. Cone, the Presiding 
Elder, preached the sermon at the dedication. 
Rev. C. W. Blackman was appointed pastor 
in 1862 and remained two years. Rev. Joseph 
Hawkes followed him in 1864, and in 1865 
Rev. B. Freeman was the preacher and re- 
mained three years. He was an earnest and 
faithful man, who was much interested in the 
welfare of the people. In 1868 Rev. Asbury 
C. Trafton was the pastor and remained three 
years. In 187 1 Rev. J. H.Trask was appointed 
and remained two years. Rev. John C. Perry 
followed him in 1873 and then the parsonage 
was built. 


The following pastors were subsequently 
appointed: Rev. Hezekiah Chase, 1876-78; 
Rev. True P. Adams, 1879-81; Rev. Charles 
S. Parsons, 1882-84, and then in 1885 followed 
Rev. J. B. Lapham, and after him came Rev. 
Kinsman Atkinson, Rev. John Collins, and 
then the Rev. Frank W. Smith, the present 
pastor. By the efforts of the members of the 
congregation a bell was purchased and put 
into the tower in 1886. 

The Second Advent Society has held 
meetings in the town hall for several years 
under different preachers. 


Peaks Island can claim to have been the 
home of the ancestors of at least two famous 

John Lothrop Motley, the historian and 
diplomat, the friend of Bismarck, who died in 
1877, was the son of Thomas Motley, Jr., of 
the firm of noted merchants of Boston, Thomas 
and Edward Motley. He was the great-grand- 
son of Capt. John Waite, through his young- 
est daughter, Emma, who married Thomas 
Motley, senior, for her second husband. 

The Hon. Thomas Brackett Reed, who, as 


Speaker of the National House of Represent- 
atives, is next in power to the President, and 
who has demonstrated his fitness for the high- 
est office under our government, is a son of 
Peaks Island. It has been the home of his 
father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, 
and he is a descendant of George Cleeve, the 
first settler of Portland. 

The rugged experiences of their ancestors 
laid the foundation of the lives of the success- 
ful men of Maine who have honored their old 
homes and the homes of their fathers. 

" There is no place like the old place where you and I were born! 
Where we lifted first our eyelids on the splendors of the morn." 


Steamboat Lines. — Steamers Kennebec, Antelope, 
Casco, Gazelle, and others. 

"Honor to those whose words or deeds 
Thus helped us in our daily needs." 

The first attempt to run a steamboat to 
the islands was in the year 1822, by Capt. 
Seward Porter. This was one year before he 
brought the steamer Patent here. The steam- 
boat was called the Kennebec, but was nick- 
named the " Horned Hog." It was the old 
hull of a flat-bottomed craft with a small and 
imperfect engine in it. 

It was a great novelty to go to the islands 
without sails or oars and drew crowds of 
passengers from the little town. It was no 
uncommon occurrence for the engine to refuse 
to drive the boat against the tide, and it had 
to be assisted by the passengers treading the 
paddle-wheels round, which was easity done as 
they were uncovered. The following couplet 
was written at the time by a local rhymster : 

"A fig for all your clumsy craft, 

Your pleasure boats and packets ; 
The steamboat lands you, safe and soon, 
At Mansfield's, Trott's, or Brackett's. 

"And down below they keep the stuff, 
And everything is handy; 
My jolly boys, I'll tell you what, 
That steamboat is a dandy." 


Several years before any attempt was made 
to run a regular line to Peaks Island, a small 
steamboat came here from Saco and ran for a 
short time, one summer, for transient parties 
to the islands. 

In 1850 Horatio G. Cook, a boat builder 
and machinist, who was born in Portland, in 
December, 18 15, and whose father was of the 
same name, built the steamboat Antelope, to 
run to the islands. She was fifty-five feet 
long, eight feet wide, and the hull was thirty 
inches deep. She had a three-horse power 
engine, and could carry one hundred passen- 
gers. This steamer was a side-wheeler and 
ran two summers. 

In the winter of 185 1-2 Mr. Cook built the 
steamboat Casco, which was about seventy- 
five feet long, twelve feet wide, and the hull 
was four feet deep. She had a horizontal 
engine of two twelve-inch cylinders and a two- 
foot stroke. This steamer was also a side- 
wheeler, as were all of the steamboats Mr. 
Cook built, and could carry three hundred 
passengers. The Casco ran to Peaks and 
Cushing's Islands until the winter of 1 860-1, 
when Mr. Cook built the steamboat Favorite. 
Cyrus F. Sands became a partner with Mr. 
Cook in this and the following boat. The 


Favorite was about one hundred feet long, 
fourteen feet wide, and the hull was six feet 
deep. She had the same engines that were 
in the Casco, whose hull was then laid up. 
The engines were geared up three to one to 
increase the power. This boat could carry 
four hundred passengers. She ran two years 
and then went into the hands of the govern- 
ment and was used South during the war. 
Later this steamer was brought to Boston, 
where she was changed to a propeller and was 
finally destroyed by fire. 

In 1863 an engine was put into the old 
hull of the Casco and she ran to the islands 
that summer. In the winter of 1863-4 Mr. 
Cook built the Gazelle, and the Casco went 
to Freeport and was finally cut up. The 
Gazelle was one hundred and five feet long, 
eighteen feet wide, and the hull was six feet 
deep. Her engine had a two-foot cylinder and 
four-foot stroke. She could then carry eight 
hundred passengers. This steamer ran to the 
islands several years, then was lengthened 
twenty feet, when she could carry one thou- 
sand passengers, although she was limited to 
six hundred. Her name was changed to the 
Forest City, and her last season was in 1895, 
since which she has been sold and went to 


Baltimore. Messrs. Cook and Sands disposed 
of their interest in this boat in 1874. 

Before i860 there was a stern-wheel steam- 
boat named the Clinton that came here from 
the Kennebec River and ran as an opposition 
boat part of one summer. The stern-wheeler 
Teaser also ran one summer to Scott's Landing. 

William Oxnard ran the steamer Island 
Queen two summers, when she was burned 
and he built the Gipsy Queen, using the 
same engines, but they were not large enough 
for the hull. This line landed at Brackett's 
Landing, opposite White Head, but did not 
run long. There have been other opposition 
boats that have been taken off after running 
a short time. 

In 187 1 the Peaks Island Steamboat Com- 
pany was formed and built the steamer Ex- 
press, which was placed in charge of Capt. 
A. S. Oliver. This company was composed 
mostly of people who lived on the island, and 
the object was to establish a line to run the 
entire year. The Express was a propeller and 
fitted for towing when not employed on the 
route. This was a successful enterprise as 
long as they confined themselves to this boat. 

An opposition line was established by C. H. 
Knowlton, and he ran the propellers Tourist 


and Minnehaha several years. These boats 
with the Express and the Forest City, with 
their rights and privileges, were all absorbed 
into one conipan}^ which is now represented 
by the Casco Bay Steamboat Company and is 
giving satisfactory service. 

Capt. Alfred S. Oliver, the veteran of the 
island line, was born in Georgetown, Me., in 
1832. He went to California in 1850 and 
commenced steamboating on the Sacramento 
River. He returned to Maine and went into 
the tow-boat business. Captain Oliver first 
ran to the islands in the steamer Lily, in 
1870, and she was burned after running but 
one season. He then became captain of the 
Express, in 1871, and has continued on the 
route under the successive companies since 
that time. He has always been a pleasant 
and courteous officer to the patrons of the 
several lines, and is remembered as the cap- 
tain who did his whole duty, with his boat, in 
the great steamboat fire of 1873. 

For nearly twenty years the steamboats 
were run but about three months' time, from 
the middle of June until the middle of Sep- 
tember, but since 187 1 there have been regu- 
lar trips run all the year round. For many 
years the steamers touched only at Peaks and 


Cushing's Islands, but new lines have been 
put on until nearly every island of any con- 
siderable size in Casco Bay is now touched by 
some steamer during the season. 

"A ship is a thing 
That you never can be quiet in, 
By wind or steam 
It's all the same, 
'Twas so with me." 


Family Histories. — Brackett, Trott, Woodbury, 
Parsons, Jones, Skillings, Sterling, Trefethen, 

"There is history in all men's lives." 

The people of a locality make its history, 
and a history of the people is almost a his- 
tory of that locality. Those who settled early 
on Peaks Island were mostly hardy fisher- 
men's families or those that went down to the 
sea in ships. They were people who knew the 
secrets of the sea as only those can know who 
brave its dangers. They were the Waites, 
Bracketts, Trotts, Woodburys, Parsons, Ster- 
lings, Welchs, Jones, Trefethens, Skillings, 
Scotts, and others, who have come and gone, 
and each has done his part, humble or other- 
wise, in the battle of life. 

It is fitting that the story of their lives 
should be preserved, that those who come after 
them may know who they were and what 
were the events in their lives that went to 
make up the histor}^ of the island while they 
lived. They were a settlement by themselves 
and shared each other's joys and sorrows. 
They saw the sun rise from out of the sea and 
the ocean was their highway. 


It is a story of the fathers who have 
passed beyond or are stepping one side for 
the 3^onnger generation to assume the respon- 
sibilities of life. All is not told and never 
will be, as much that would now interest us 
died with them. 


The Brackett family is the most promi- 
nent one in the history of Peaks Island. It 
was known as Brackett's Island for man}^ 
years. The family are descendants of George 
Cleeve, the first settler of Portland, and as a 
family have been modest, unassuming, and 
honorable. They have sealed their right to 
Cleeve's land by their own blood. 

The two first settlers of the name at 
Falmouth were killed by the Indians while 
defending their homes. Bracketts served 
through the French and Indian Wars, were 
at the siege of Louisburg in 1745, and several 
from Old Falmouth served in the Revolution- 
ary Army. The long list of their names on 
the rolls of our state in the late Rebellion 
shows that the spirit of patriotism has not 
departed from the family. 

The emigrant ancestor was Anthony 
Brackett, who came to Boston from Scotland 


about 1629 and was called "the Selectman." 
He was at Portsmouth, N. H., in 1640. His 
sons, Anthony and Thomas, came to Fal- 
mouth probably before 1662. Anthony mar- 
ried Anne Mitton, and Thomas, her sister 
Mary, daughters of Michael Mitton, whose 
wife was Elizabeth Cleeve, a daughter of 
George Cleeve, who with Richard Tucker 
settled Portland in 1633. After the death of 
Mitton, his widow married a Harvey. Her 
other children were Elizabeth, who married 
Thaddeus Clark, and Martha, wife of John 

Thomas Brackett was killed at Clark's 
Point, where the Gas House now is, by the 
Indians, Aug. 11, 1676, and his wife, Mary 
Mitton, and her children were carried off b}^ 
the Indians and she died within a year. Her 
children returned to the Piscataqua River, 
now Portsmouth, N. H. Thomas' son Joshua, 
who was about two years of age at the time 
of his capture, was the father of Joshua, Jr., 
and Anthony, of whom the Bracketts and 
Trotts of Peaks Island are descendants. The 
same day that Thomas Brackett was killed, 
his brother Anthony and wife, Anne Mitton, 
were captured with their children on their 
farm, now the Deering farm, and carried away 


by the Indians. Her brother, Nathaniel Mit- 
ton, resisted and was killed. He was the last 
of the family name here. The escape of 
Anthony Brackett and his family in an old 
canoe is a matter of history. It is said it was 
through her penetration and fortitude that 
the escape was effected, and as Willis says 
" places her in the rank of heroic women." 
They went to the Piscataqua River, his father's 
home, but returned to Falmouth in 1679. He 
became a selectman, captain of a company, 
and was killed in the battle on his farm in 
October, 1689. He has descendants living in 
the vicinity of Portland. 

Joshua Brackett, Jr., grandson of Thomas, 
was born at Greenland, N. H., in 1701, came 
to Falmouth before 1728, and lived in a log 
house about where Gray Street now is, where 
by industry and frugality he improved his 
condition, and then built a frame house about 
opposite the head of High Street, on Con- 
gress, where he lived and died in March, 1794, 
aged 93 years. His fifth child, iMtivm^ born 
in 1737, married, in 1761, Benjamin Trott and 
soon moved to Peaks Island. They are the 
ancestors of the family of that name there 
and from whom their land on the island was 


Anthony Brackett, brother to Joshua, Jr., 
born in 1707, probably came to Falmouth 
before 1728. He married, first, Sarah Knight, 
in 1733, and second, in 1756, Widow Keren- 
happuck (Proctor) Hicks, who died in 1822, 
at Gorham, aged 93 years. He lived near 
the corner of Brackett and Danforth Streets, 
where he died Sept. 10, 1784, aged yy years, 
and was buried on his farm, but his body was 
taken up, about 1850, and removed to Peaks 
Island, where he was laid near his descend- 
ants in the Brackett Cemetery. He owned 
all the land on the southeast side of Congress 
Street from about Oak to Vaughan Streets, 
and his brother Joshua owned all the land on 
the northwest side of Congress Street from 
below Casco to Stroudwater Bridge. Anthony 
had ten children, John, Thomas, James, Mary, 
Joshua, Elizabeth, Kezia, Samuel, Nathaniel, 
and Sarah. The oldest son was Capt. John 
Brackett, of Col. Edmund Phinney's regiment, 
who died in the army in September, 1775. The 
second son, Thomas, born in 1744, is the ances- 
tor of all the Bracketts of Peaks Island. He 
married, in 1762, Jane Hall, from Narraguagus, 
now Cherry field, Me., and probably moved to 
the island before the Revolutionary War. 
They were living there in 1782, when his 


father transferred to him all his interest in 
Peaks Island. His wife, Jane, died in 18 10, 
aged 70 years, and Thomas Brackett died in 
18 15, aged 71 years. 

Their children were: John, born in 1763, 
who married, in 1789, Lucy Snow, daughter 
of David Snow, of Orleans, Mass., a soldier 
of the Revolution. Elizabeth, born in 1766, 
married Capt. James Sawyer, and died in 1799, 
aged 33 years. Sarah, married, in 1789, John 
Fabyan, who was her cousin, born in 1766. 
He was the son of Joshua, Esq., and Sarah 
(Brackett) Fabyan, of Scarborough. John 
Fabyan lived at Scarborough, had fourteen 
children, and died at Leeds, Me., about 1833, 
aged 67 years. Patience, born in 1775, and 
died, unmarried, March 10, 1794, aged 19 
years. Mar}-, born in 1776, and married, in 
1796, Joseph Reed. He was an intelligent 
and respected citizen. They were the grand- 
parents of Hon. Thomas B. Reed. 

The children of John and Lucy (Snow) 
Brackett were: Jane H., born in 1791, married 
Capt. Charles Bradbury, in 1825, had no chil- 
dren, and died in 1826. John, Jr., born in 
1794, and married, in 1817, Mary A. Hadlock. 
Mary S., born in 1796, married, in 1816, 
George D. Welch, and, in 1848, Ira Hilborn, 


of Minot. Thomas, born in 1799, who died 
in 1819. David, born in 1800, who died in 
1804. Sally C, born in 1802, who married 
Francis B. Smith, in 1826, bnt had no chil- 
dren. Lncinda S., born in 1804, who married 
Benjamin Welch in 1825. Almira, born in 
1807, and died in 1819. James S., born in 
1 8 10, who married Ann Margaret Jones, sister 
of William T. Jones, in 1838, and had bnt one 
child, James W. Brackett. James S. Brackett 
died in 1839, aged 29 years, and his wife died 
in 1850, aged 37 years. The youngest child 
was Henry M., born in 181 2, who married 
Sarah M. Hadlock, in 1833, bnt had no chil- 
dren. John Brackett died Dec. 1, 1835, aged 
72 years, and his wife, Lncy, died June 15, 
1842, aged 75 years. 

The children of Joseph and Mary (Brack- 
ett) Reed were: Mary B., born in 1800, who 
married Walter S. Hatch in 1821. Elizabeth 
S., born in 1802, who married, in 1823, Nath- 
aniel S. Millett. Thomas B., born in 1803, 
who married, in 1838, Matilda P. Mitchell, 
and died in 1887, aged 83 years. Joseph, Jr., 
born in 1806. Jane, born in 1807. Smith, 
born in 1809. William, born in 181 1. Daniel 
born in 18 13. Lydia W., born in 18 14, who 
married Abraham T. Sterling, in 1841, and 


Emily P., born in 1819, who married, in 1841, 
William S. Trefethen. Joseph Reed died 
April 1, 1852, aged 82 years, and his wife, 
Mary, died Nov. 13, i860, aged 84 years. 

The children of John, Jr., and Mary A. 
(Hadlock) Bracket! were: Seth H., born in 
1 8 18, married, in 1843, Elizabeth A. L. Libby, 
and died in 1877. Sarah H., born in 182 1, 
married Joseph Trefethen, in 1838, and died 
in 1868. He was a nephew of Henry Tre- 
fethen, of Honse Island, and died in 1884, 
aged 69 years. John Thomas, born in 1823, 
married Eunice A. Randall, in 1846, and died 
in 1894. Samuel H., born in 1825, married 
Sophia Cressey, in 1854, and died in 1875. 
William S., born in 1827, married Adelia P. 
Harmon, in 1850, and died in 1886. Elijah E. 
H., born in 1830, and died in 1837. Henry E. 
H., born in 1832, married, first, in 1856, Julia 
E. Hsley, and second, in i8$8, Margie Clif- 
ford. James G. H., born in 1835, and died 
the same year. Albert, born in 1836, and died 
in 1840. Gilnian L., born in 1840, married, 
in 1862, Mary Ann Libby, and lives on the 
island. Mary A., born in 1842, and died in 
1847. Epps G. H., born in 1846, married, in 
1867, Mary E. Rice, of Cranberry Isles. 

John Brackett, Jr., lived at one time on 


Island Avenue, near the Parsons' land, west 
side of the island. The cellar of his house 
can still be seen on the east side of the Ave- 
nue. He, with Henry Parsons, built the 
stone wall that is now near the cellar. John 
Brackett, Jr., died May 21, 1869, aged 75 
years, and his wife, Mary A., died May 18, 
1880, aged 79 years. The heirs of John 
Brackett, Jr., own about forty-five acres of 
land on the island between the Welch and 
Hilborn land and the Trott line in front of 
the Bay View House, across the island, from 
shore to shore. 

George D. and Mary S. (Brackett) Welch 
had one daughter, Almira B., who married 
William T. Jones for his first wife. George 
D. Welch died Oct. 26, 1828, aged 33 years, 
and his wife, Mary S., died Sept. 24, 187 1, 
aged 75 years. 

Benjamin and Lucinda S. (Brackett) 
Welch had five children : Benjamin, Jr., born 
in 1827. Lucy Elizabeth, born in 1828, and 
married James J. Knowlton in 1849. Susan 
Jane, who died young. Mary Adeline, born 
in 183 1, who married, in 1852, Charles S. 
Adams, who died in 1880, aged 54 years. 
George Deake Welch, born in 1833. Lucinda 
S. (Brackett) Welch died in 1837, aged 33 


years. Mrs. Adams lives at Peaks Island. 
Her two brothers and sister live in California. 

Henry M. Brackett died Nov. 1, 1871, aged 
59 years. His widow, Sarah M., who was a 
niece of John Brackett, Jr.'s, wife, married, in 
1877, Dr. James Torrington, and they reside 
in the house on the sonth side of the island. 
She came from the Cranberry Isles and was 
the daughter of Samuel, Jr., and Eunice 
(Richardson) Hadlock, of Bass Harbor. She 
is the oldest resident of the island, and was 
born in 18 15. The house in which she lives 
was built by Henry M. Brackett, about 1836, 
and the house at the south oLit was built by 
Seth H. Brackett, his *hym&&, about 1853, 
which was the first boarding-house built on 
the island. There was formerly a wharf and 
landing near these houses, to which the 
steamers ran regular trips, but it has fallen 
to decay and is now gone. 

Mrs. Mary A. (Welch) Adams is the only 
one of the Welch and Hilborn heirs living on 
their land here. Their possessions amount 
to about eighty-five acres and run from shore 
to shore, but not in a straight line. It extends 
from the Union House to Greenwood Garden 
and is a public playground for all. The cot- 
tage lots are all leased. The house in which 


she lives was formerly called the ''children's 
house," because their mother died when they 
were young and left them the house. They 
were always spoken of as "the children." 
The house has been rebuilt, but originally it 
was a house that was taken down at Cape Eliz- 
abeth and brought to the island about 1829. 

The dwelling-house of James W. Brackett, 
in Greenwood Garden, was built by his mother, 
Mrs. James S. Brackett, in 1847. He owns 
the Garden and the land back, holding its 
width, to the back shore, amounting to over 
forty acres. Mrs. Torrington owns all the 
land, excepting three lots which she has sold, 
beyond James W. Brackett's to the southeast 
shore. She has about ninety acres of land in 
her lot. 

The descendants of Thomas Brackett, of 
Peaks Island, own, altogether, about two hun- 
dred and sixty acres of land on the island 
that they and their ancestors have owned for 
two hundred and sixty years. It came from 
George Cleeve, the first settler of Portland, 
and is a record of constancy of which the 
family have a right to feel proud. 

" O land that once my fathers trod, 
O sires I cannot see ! 
May I your future make as dear 
As you the past to me! " 



The Trott family were among the earliest 
to make Peaks Island their home. Benjamin 
Trott and his wife, Thankful Brackett, prob- 
ably moved there in 1762. 

John Trott, the first of the name at Old 
Falmouth, was probably the son of Samuel 
and Marcia Trott, and grandson of Thomas 
Trott, of Dorchester, Mass. He was born 
Dec. 20, 1700, and was there before 1725. His 
wife's name was Lydia. He had thirty acres 
of land granted him, on the eastern side of 
Long Creek in 1727, three acres more the next 
year, and in 1729 ten acres additional. Their 
children were: Abigail, born in 1725, and 
married, in 1743, William Pitman. Benjamin, 
born in 1726, who died young. John, born in 
1727. Lydia, born in 1729, and married, in 
1757, Solomon Avery. Thomas, born in 173 1, 
and married, in 1759, Sarah Knapp. Deliver- 
ance, born in 1733, who died young. Mary, 
born in 1735. Benjamin, born in 1737, who 
married, in 1761, Thankful Brackett and went 
to Peaks Island, and Deliverance, born in 1738, 
who married, in 1755, Mathew Tobin. 

Thomas Trott was a cordwainer, and in 
1 76 1 bought a farm at Windham, where he 
moved soon after. He was selectman there 


in 1 7 74-^76, '77 and '80, and in the Revolu- 
tionary War was captain of the town company 
of militia. He died there in 182 1, aged 90 
years, and his wife in 1837, aged 97 years. 

Benjamin Trott had sons Benjamin, Jr., and 
Joshua, and daughters Betsey, who married 
Daniel Bartlett, of Freeport, in 1707; Mary, 
who married Samuel Rand ; Abigail, who mar- 
ried Samuel Woodbury, and Thankful. 

Benjamin Trott, Jr., married, in 1799, 
Susannah Bartlett, and their children were: 
Samuel, who married, in 1835, Jane B. Par- 
sons. Benjamin, who married Ann Bennett, 
in 1824. Thomas B., who married, in 1840, 
Deborah Lincoln. Betsey, who married, in 
1824, David White. Sarah Ann, who married 
George Trott, in 1835, and Lydia, who mar- 
ried, in 1826, Obadiah Eastman. 

Joshua Trott married, in 1799, Elizabeth 
Bartlett, and had the following children: 
William ; Daniel, who married Saral Bartol, 
in 1835; George, who married, in 1835, Sarah 
Ann Trott, his cousin; Jane, who married 
Michael Rawley, in 1826; Polly, who married 
John Rawley, in 1825, and Sally, who mar- 
ried, in 1827, Abraham Murray. 

One of the mothers of the island, of poetic 
turn of mind, made the following rhyme about 


the marriages of the daughters of this family, 
by which those now grandfathers remember 
their names : 

"John Rawley married Polly, 
Mike married Jane, 
Abraham Murray married Sally, 

I am sure they needn't complain." 


The Woodbury family were among the 
early people of Peaks Island. Samuel Wood- 
bury, the first of the name there, probably 
came from Beverly, Mass., at latest, early in 
this century. He married Abigail Trott, 
daughter of Benjamin and Thankful (Brack- 
ett) Trott, who, no doubt, was born on the 
island. It is thought that Samuel Woodbury 
was at first a farmer for, or tenant of, Col. 
John Waite. Later there was probably an 
arrangement made with Colonel Waite's heirs 
that after the payment of a certain sum, in 
installments, the Woodburys should have a 
deed of the Waite land. The children were : 
Benjamin, who married Lydia Avery, in 181 3, 
had a son, Robert, and died on Long Island. 
William, who married Thankful Rand, a sis- 
ter to Samuel Rand, and died on the island. 
James, who married Lucy Johnson, in 1833, a 
sister to Alexander Johnson, Jr., who had a 


daughter, Eliza Jane, who married Bradley P. 
Wallace, in 1854, and a son, James F. Wood- 
bury. James Woodbury died at Long Island. 
Francis, born in 1801, never married, but 
after his father's death was always called 
"Sam," and who died Oct. 6, 1861, aged 60 
years. Joshua, who never married. Charles, 
born in 1802, who married, first, Ruth Day, of 
Phipsburg, Me., in. 1825, wno died ^ n x 868, 
aged 63 years. He married, second, Cynthia 
Doughty, in 1869, and died Nov. 24, 1870, 
aged 68' years, and left descendants. There 
were two daughters, Nancy, who married Mr. 
Hatch and died about 1832, and Thankful, 
who never married. William lived where the 
Oceanic House stands and Charles nearly to 
Evergreen Landing. 

The}' labored many years, having in view 
the payments for the land. Samuel Wood- 
bury lived in a log house that stood where 
the "Wallace house" stands, on Island Ave- 
nue, south of Trefethen's Landing. Joshua 
and Francis Woodbury built the present 
house there over sixty years ago. Before 1820 
Joshua, Francis, and James Woodbury moved 
to Cushings Island, near White Head, but 
their title to the land not being satisfactory 
they removed their house from the island. 
This may account for the cellar found there. 


As early as 1834 William, James, Francis, 
and Joslina Woodbury divided the land, al- 
though they had no deed of it. This may 
have been done to divide also the responsi- 
bility, so that each would pay but their share. 
Samuel Woodbury and his wife lived to be 
very old people and died on the island. The 
tradition is that he was an honest, uneducated, 
and hard-working man. 

The Waites' two-ninths of the island was 
inherited by the two daughters of Col. John 
Waite, Nancy, who married Nathaniel F. Deer- 
ing, and Luc}^, who married Capt. Samuel 
McLellan. In 1839 Nancy W. Deering con- 
veyed her undivided half to Lucy McLellan, 
and in 1840 she deeded all to Alexander John- 
son, Jr., for a consideration of $1,500.00, and 
received a mortgage in return to secure pay- 
ment. Johnson, the same day, sold about 
thirty acres at Evergreen Landing to John 
Sterling, of House Island, and two da}^s after- 
wards sold Francis Woodbury twenty-eight 
square rods, over fifty-eight acres, at the west- 
ern end, next to the Trott line. This left 
the strip through the middle at Trefethen's 
Landing and back of it. Two years later 
(1842) Henry Trefethen, of House Island, 
bought of Lucy McLellan the unpaid note of 


Johnson's, with unpaid interest, for $502.72, he 
giving a quitclaim deed to the land. In 1847 
Trefethen deeded the land to Francis Wood- 
bury for $500. Alexander Johnson, Jr., mar- 
ried Lydia N. Woodbu^, in 1824, an d after dis- 
posing of all interest in Peaks Island moved to 
Long Island, and was soon after drowned. 

The land known as the Francis Woodbury 
farm is the land he purchased of Johnson in 
1840. It was a strip forty-seven and one- 
half rods wide on the Trott line, extended 
from shore to shore, and consisted of over 
fifty-eight acres. Then there was a right of 
way across it. This farm was divided equally 
between six heirs and assigns, lengthwise, in 
1865. These six parts were owned by Thank- 
ful Woodbury, Charles and Henry Trefethen, 
Jr., Simeon Skillings, Eliza Jane Woodman, 
Emily P. Trefethen, and William Woodbury. 
There was an irregular piece of land from the 
original farm on the western end, containing 
two and one-half acres, that William Wood- 
bury had bought in 1849. 

The unhappy termination of Joshua Wood- 
bury's life, in about 1838, brings us back to 
the family's effort to purchase the land. The 
time arrived when Joshua and Francis were 
to make their last payment, as they supposed, 


and get their deed. They sold a pair of oxen 
which they could hardly spare to get the 
money, and went to the city to get their 
deed. They were unsuccessful, but all the 
reasons, perhaps, are not now perfectly under- 
stood, and they returned to the island some- 
what disheartened. Joshua expressed the 
opinion that they never would get the deed. 
The two brothers and their sister, Thankful, 
were living in the Wallace house. Joshua 
and Francis went out fishing on Saturday, 
and Joshua felt badly about his troubles on 
his return. They left their fish in their boat 
over Sunday that they were to carry to the 
city on Monday, as was their custom. Sun- 
day the sister went out into the woods, and 
while she was away Joshua urged Francis to 
go to the boat to look after the fish, which he 
did. While both were gone he went to the 
barn and on the scaffold cut his throat to end 
his troubles, which had unsettled his mind. 
He was a man who made a practice of reading 
his Bible every Sunday. He believed that 
he had not been justly dealt with, and the 
disappointment he could not stand. His 
death shocked the people of the island, and it 
is told as the most horrible event that has yet 
happened among them. The older people 


remember these brothers as well-meaning bnt 
uneducated men, and by many it is believed 
that if they had been more accustomed to 
matters of business their affairs might have 
turned out differently. Of such men 

" Be to their faults a little blind, 
Be to their virtues very kind." 


Henry Parsons was an early resident of 
Peaks Island. He was born June 24, 1782, 
and when he was eighteen years of age his 
father was drowned. He came from Glouces- 
ter, Mass., and first went to the island in 
1804, and at that time there were but four 
houses there. He had probably just married 
Sarah Sawyer, a daughter of Samuel and 
Hannah Sawyer, of Cape Elizabeth, aud she 
died Feb. 27, 1830, aged 49 years. He mar- 
ried her sister, Hannah Sawyer, in 1832, and 
she was born June 4, 1795, and died Jan. 5, 
1865, aged 69 years. He died on the island, 
Jan. 4, 1862, aged 79 years. Their children 
were: Samuel S., born in 1805, married, first, 
in 1826, Jane Holden, sister of the late Charles 
Holden, Esq., and second, in 1854, Catherine 
Lincoln. Mary F., born in 1806, married, in 
1833, Nathaniel S. Millett, and died Dec. 4, 
1896, aged 90 years. Jane B., born in 1808, 


and married, in 1835, Samuel Trott. Henry, 
born in 18 10, married, in 1840, Eleanor Bartol, 
of Lisbon. Charles, born in 18 13, married, in 
1835, Eliza Lincoln. Martha, born in 1816, 
and died the next year. Sarah, born in 18 19, 
never married, and died in 1846, aged 26 years. 
John S., born in 1834, married, in 1858, Ellen 
Johnson, and James T., born in 1835, and 
married, in 1866, Frances A. Simonton, of 
Cape Elizabeth. The last two of the children 
were by the second wife and they are living 
at South Portland. 

Henry Parsons first bought land on Peaks 
Island in 1828, which was about four acres on 
the south side of the Waite line, but on the 
side of the hill, which he purchased of Ben- 
jamin Trott, Jr. In 1834 he purchased nearly 
three acres more, of John Brackett, Jr., by 
the same line, near Brackett's house, and five 
and two-thirds acres on the shore, making 
altogether nearly thirteen acres, which is still 
owned by his family. 


William T. Jones was a prominent citizen 
of Peaks Island in his time. The story of his 
life is one of credit to him. He was left an 
orphan at twelve, and at fourteen walked from 


Portsmouth, N. H., to Boston to seek his for- 
tune, where he soon found employment in a 
tavern, where Capt. John Brackett, Jr., first 
met him. He wished to come to Portland 
with Captain Brackett in his vessel, which was 
consented to as he took a fancy to the boy. 
This was about 1832. He learned the cooper's 
trade and spent several winters in Cuba at 
work at that trade. He established the cooper 
business on Peaks Island and his shop was 
where the Union House stands. In 1840 he 
married Almira B. Welch, daughter of George 
D. Welch and granddaughter of John Brack- 
ett. She died in 1841, aged 22 years. He 
married again, in 1848, Eliza A. Chamberlain, 
daughter of Abia and Sibyl (Merrill) Cham- 
berlain, of Scarborough. Her grandfather, 
Joshua Merrill, was an officer in the Revolu- 
tionary Arnry. She came to Peaks Island in 
1847 as a school-teacher, has lived on the 
island about fifty years, been closely identified 
with its progress, and enjoys the respect and 
esteem of not only her neighbors and friends 
but many who have been her guests from all 
parts of the country. 

Mr. Jones, in 1855, altered his cooper shop 
into a restaurant and was the pioneer in the 
business on the island. In i860 he built the 


Union House, which he and his wife kept 
until his death, and his wife has continued 
the business since. The Union House, since 
first built, has been enlarged and for many 
years was the house of the island. 

Mr. Jones was a man of marked ability 
and a leading and enterprising citizen. He 
was prominent in the formation of the Peaks 
Island Steamboat Company, which built the 
steamer Express in 187 1, and established 
regular communications with the city for the 
entire year. He died suddenly, in 1880, aged 
62 years, a respected and honored man. Jones 
Landing was named for him and the name 
should never be changed. 

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Jones are : 
Ellen Tappan, who married Christopher Wa}^ ; 
James Brackett, who married Paryntha M. 
Salter, of Burlington, N. S. ; Winthrop Stan- 
wood, who married Arietta Foster, daughter 
of the late Dr. Thomas A. Foster ; Alice Eliza, 
a school-teacher in Portland; Herbert Abia, 
who married Flora M. Salter, of Burlington, 
N. S., and four children who died young. 


The Shillings family came from Cushing's 
Island. Robert F. Skillings went to Peaks 


Island in December, 1843. He was born in 
1819, married, in 1842, Harriet vS*? Trefethen, 
and had nine children. His brother, Simeon 
Skillings, Jr., went to the island about i860. 
He was born in 18 18, married, in 1848, Nancy 
E. Sterling, and had eight children. Their 
sister, Sarah A. Skillings, was born in 182 1, 
married, in 1843, Smith C. Hadlock, who 
came from the Cranberry Isles, and they have 
lived on Peaks Island abont fifty years. They 
are children of Simeon and Nancy (Adams) 
Skillings, who were married in 181 2, and 
went abont that time to live on Cushing's 
Island, on land that she inherited from her 
great-grandfather, General Jedediah Preble. 
They had eight sons and four daughters, all 
born on that island. He acquired six-sev- 
enths of the island, and about i860 the whole 
title passed to Lemuel dishing. 

Nancy Adams, wife of Simeon Skillings, 
was the daughter of Francis and Nancy 
(Preble) Adams, married in 1786, and grand- 
daughter of Jedediah, Jr., and Avis (Phillips) 
Preble, of Castine. She was the great-grand- 
daughter of General Jedediah and Martha 
(Junkins) Preble, of Falmouth Neck. 

Simeon Skillings, of Cushing's Island, 
was the son of Simeon and Mary (Skillings) 


Skillings, married in 1769; grandson of Ed- 
ward and Mary (Mills) Skillings, married in 
1732; great-grandson of Josiah and Elizabeth 
(Lydston) Skillings, married in 1708; great- 
great-grandson of John and Elizabeth Skill- 
ings, and great -great -great -grandson of 
Thomas and Deborah Shillings, who came 
to Old Falmonth as early as 165 1. Thomas 
Skillings, the first of the family, died in 1667. 


The Sterling famify have been identified 
with House and Peaks Islands about seventy- 
five years. The name was originally Starling 
and was changed after coming to House 

The first of this family known to us was 
Joseph Starling and his wife, Mary, who set- 
tled at New Marblehead, now Windham, Me., 
about 1750, and proceeded to clear land for 
a home. Here he had six daughters and one 
son, Josiah, born. They probably moved from 
Windham about 1765, and may have gone to 
Bristol, Me., where he died about 1780. His 
son, Josiah, was born in Windham, Jan. 29, 
1762, and married, Nov. 2, 1783, Mary Tre- 
fethen. She was the daughter of Henry Tre- 
fethen, and was born at New Castle, N. H., 


Nov. 28, 1763. She died Feb. 12, 1838, aged 
74 years. Josiah Starling died Dec. 28, 1832, 
aged 70 years. They probably lived at Friend- 
ship and, perhaps, at Monhegan Island. They 
had eight daughters and five sons. 

John Sterling, son of Josiah, was born in 
Friendship, May 4, 1785, and married, Dec. 
11, 1804, Patience Browe, who was born in 
Bristol, Me., July 5, 1784. She died Dec. 3, 
1853, aged 69 years. He married, for his 
second wife, Mrs. Experience (Higgins) Fogg, 
in 1856, who died at Freeport. He died Aug. 
10, 1870, aged 85 years. 

John Sterling's children .were all bv his 
first wife, and were as follows : (jhtififety born 
in 1807, and married, in 1828, Philena Gove. 
Seth B., born in 1809, and was lost overboard 
from the schooner Experiment, in 1835, off 
Cape Sable. He was 25 years of age and left 
a widow, Mary Trefethen, at Portsmouth, with 
two sons, Thomas and Seth. Mary, born in 
18 1 2, and married John Blake, in 1829. Caro- 
line, born in 1814, married, in 183 1, Samuel 
Rines, and she died July 16, 1841. John, born 
in 18 16, and died in 1835, aged 19 years. 
Patience, born in 18 19, and married Robert 
Robinson. Elizabeth, born in 182 1, and mar- 
ried Nathaniel Harrington. Phebe, born in 


1823, an d married, in 1848, Isaac N. Sylvester. 
The youngest was Alpheus G., born in 1828, 
married, first, Maria L. York, in 1853, and 
second, Adelia D. Scott, in 1873. He lives on 
the old home place on House Island. 

John Sterling came from Monhegan Island 
to House Island about 1822, and bought one- 
quarter part of the island, where he moved 
and carried on the fishing business. He 
bought the Edward Mansfield house on Peaks 
Island, about 1824, for his oldest son, Luther. 
This house is now owned by Seth B. Sterling, 
and is on Island Avenue. Luther Sterling 
married, in 1826^ Elizabeth Cudworth, of 
Bristol, who was born in 1800 and died in 
1888, aged 88 years. He lived the most of 
his life on Peaks Island, and was a seafaring 
man. He had nine children : Nancy Eliza- 
beth, born in 1826, and married, in 1848, Sim- 
eon Skillings, Jr.; Luther A., born in 1829; 
John T., born in 183 1 ; Joseph C, born in 1833 5 
Seth B., born in 1835 ; James H., born in 1837 5 
William A., born in 1839; Robinson E., born 
in 1842, and Melvin C, born in 1844. 

Luther Sterling saw the fight between the 
Enterprise and Boxer from Monhegan Island 
in 1813. He was a boy of nine years of age 
at the time. He said that at the time of the 


battle the surgeon, the captain of the top, and 
two marines from the Boxer were on shore 
and were unable to get on board before the 
engagement commenced, and stood with the 
people of the island. The fight was quite 
near the island as he always told of it to his 
acquaintances and family. 

Luther Sterling saved the life of a young 
lady named Maria E. Harwell, of Manchester, 
N. H., in August, 1849. She was thrown 
overboard from the yacht Odd Fellow in our 
harbor, and he saw the accident and went to 
the rescue, arriving in time to save an almost 
extinct life. In her gratitude to her, then 
unknown, rescuer, she came to Portland the 
next spring determined to find who he was, 
and after weeks of inquiry found it was he. 
She presented him with a family Bible, in 
which she, in her own hand, inscribed her 
gratitude to him for saving her life, with fer- 
vent hopes for his success and happiness. 
Luther Sterling died April 16, 1880, aged 75 

John Sterling bought for his next son, 
Josiah, in 1840, about thirty acres of land on 
Peaks Island, at Evergreen Landing, of Alex- 
ander Johnson, Jr. Of this lot it was said that 
it " was set off to William Woodbury in 1834." 


Josiali Sterling lived here, having married, 
in 1828, Philena Gove, of Edgecomb, Me. His 
children were: Robert Thayer, born in 1830, 
and married, in i860, Catherine J. Craig. He 
died Jnne 19, 1876. Patience Augnsta, born 
in 1832, and married William Keene, of Bris- 
tol. Qnincy, born in 1833, and died in 1835. 
Josiah, Jr., born in 1835. Mary Caroline, born 
in 1837, who married, in 1855, George M. 
Latham, and died in 1858. Elizabeth C, born 
in 1839, and died the next 3^ear. Elizabeth, 
born in 1840, and married Andrew England. 
John E., born in 1843. Qnincy M., born in 
1845, an d Brnnette, born in 1847. Josiah 
Sterling died Sept. 25, 1889, aged 82 years. 


The Trefethen family are of Welch origin. 
The first ancestor known to this family was 
Henry Trefethen, of New Castle, N. H., a 
shipwright, whose wife, Deborah, was a grand- 
daughter of Robert Jordan. They were alive 
in 1760. Henry Trefethen made for himself 
a clock case of solid mahogany and purchased 
the movement in England. In his will he 
left the clock to his son Henry, to go to the 
next one of that name in each generation, and 
it is now owned by his great-grandson Henry, 
at Peaks Island, and still keeps good time. 


His son, Hemy Trefethen, Jr., went to 
Monhegan Island, and his sister, Mary, mar- 
ried Josiah Starling in 1783. They were the 
parents of John Starling, who came to House 
Island about 1822. Henry Trefethen, third, 
son of Henry, Jr., acquired a title in House 
Island in September, 1823, and later the one- 
half not owned by the government was divided 
equally by purchase between John Starling 
and himself. The dwelling-honse was occu- 
pied by both families, but was divided through 
the middle crosswise, so that each family had 
their half separate from the other. The busi- 
ness of the families was always carried on 

Henry Trefethen, third, of House Island, 
was born on the island of Monhegan about 
1797. His wife was Mary Thompson, of 
Friendship, Me., who was born about 1795. 
Their children were: Harriet N., born in 
182 1, who married Robert F. Skillings, in 
1842, and lives on Peaks Island. William S., 
born in 1823, wno married, in 1841, Emily P. 
Reed. Jane H., born in 1825, wno married 
David Fairweather, in 1851, and Caleb Blake, 
in 1856. Henry, Jr., born in 1828, and died 
in 1833. George, born in 1830, who married 
Abby Chamberlain, of Scarborough, in 1851. 


Charles E., born in 1832, married, first, Caro- 
line Willard, in 1852, and second, in 1859, 
Louisa A. Keith. Henry, Jr., born in 1833, 
married, first, Mary E. Hamilton, in 1853, 
and second, in 1861, Apphia T. Holbrook, and 
Elizabeth, born in 1836, who married, first, 
Newton Gross, of Buckfield, and, second, 
Daniel E. Angell. Henry Trefethen died 
June 29, 1880, aged 83 years, and his wife, 
Mary Thompson, died Sept. 2, 1880, aged 85 

William S. Trefethen moved to Peaks 
Island about 1844; Charles E. Trefethen 
about i860, and Henry Trefethen, Jr., about 
1875. Trefethen Landing receives its name 
from this family. 


Baxter Scott, the first of the name on 
Peaks Island, came from Georgetown, Me. 
He was the son of Joseph Baxter Scott and 
Eleanor Trafton. He first lived on Cushing's 
Island and afterwards was a farmer on Hog 
(Great Diamond) Island. He was born April 
6, 1808, married Mary P. Manson, who was 
born in 1805, and died May 7, 1873, aged 6j 
years. They bought the porgy factory, land 
and wharf, in April, 1868, and soon after 


moved to Peaks Island, north side. They also 
purchased other land. 

Their children were: Lafayette W., born 
in 1838, married Lizzie J. Trefethen, in 1863, 
and died Dec. 3, 1885, aged 47 years. Valarie 
J., born in 1840, who died, unmarried, in i860 
aged 19 3^ears. Azubah A., born in 1843, wno 
died, unmarried, in 1867, aged 33 years. 
George W., married, in 1870, Elizabeth H. 
Putnam. Adelia D., who married, in 1873, 
Alpheus G. Sterling, of House Island, and 
Manson W., who married Mrs. Eliza (Savage) 
Smith, and lives in Boston. Baxter Scott died 
May 8, 1893, aged 85 years. 

What was known at one time as Scott's 
Landing is now the Steamboat Landing, but 
was formerly the old Brackett Landing. 

" So closed our tale, of which I give you all 
The random scheme as wildly as it rose : 
The words are mostly mine." 




" Oh ! give me a home by the sea 
Where the wild waves are crested with foam." 

House Island, from its proximity to 
Peaks, has some history in common with that 
island. For the last three-qnarters of a cent- 
nry the families of both islands have been 
closely connected and the interests of one have 
been that of the other. This island has never 
been a pleasure resort, bnt has been occu- 
pied by those engaged in the more serious 
occupation of the fisherman; those "who have 
enriched the country by drawing wealth from 
the seas." The story of the island's name 
and that of its owners becomes more interest- 
ing as time rolls on, and should be so cared 
for that the succeeding generations may have 
the advantage of the knowledge in our time. 

House Island has borne that name from 
the earliest times. As early as 1661 it was 
"commonly called House Island," and in 1663 
there was an old house upon it, and a new one 



that had been built by "Joseph Phipenny." 
An old house in 1663 might have been a new- 
one when Capt. Christopher Levitt spent the 
winter of 1623 and the next summer in the 
harbor. On the southeast side of the island, 
on the north side of the cove, are the remains 
of the foundations of two buildings, one now 
partly washed away, of which nothing is 
known. The Sterling family have lived on 
the island seventy-five years, and have never 
heard any explanation of why they were there 
or any traditions about them, although they 
have expressed an interest to know. The 
present old house was built very early in 
this century by John Green Walden. The 
old foundations may be those of the two 
first houses on the island. There seems to 
be no reason why any one should have taken 
the trouble to have leveled off the ground. 
Then the settlement at Portland was of little 
account and they would have been likely to 
have built on the south side of the island. 
Perhaps one may date to Levitt's house? 
The description of Levitt's Island, where he 
lived, applies as well to this island as to any 
other, and certainly it is "an island lying 
before Casco (Fore) River." The name of the 
island indicates that it was the first island to 


have a house upon it. Many difficult questions 
have been settled in time and this ina}' be. 

House Island was early improved by per- 
sons in the fishing business. The first recorded 
deed, Oct. 23, 1661, says Nicholas White, of 
Casco Bay, planter, sold one-quarter of the 
island to John Breme, a fisherman, with the 
house, for X5-3S., but reserved the right for 
Sampson Penley to make fish upon it during 
his life and to have refusal of the purchase if 
he should sell. In September, 1663, Penley 
levied an execution on one-quarter of the 
island, with half of the old house and all of 
the new house together with half of the stages, 
and March 9, 1664, Penley sold all his interest 
to George Munjoy for £ij. In November, 
1663, William Noreman, a fisherman, sold a 
quarter part of the island and a quarter part 
of the house, for X3-15S., to George Munjoy. 
The price would indicate that the house must 
have been a rude affair. Munjoy finally 
acquired the whole title to the island, which 
was confirmed to his widow by President Dan- 
forth in 1681, and it descended to his heirs. 
In the inventory of his estate, in 1685, House 
Island was valued at ^30. 

Probably after the re-settlement of Port- 
land, about 1716, House Island was claimed 


by John Wallis, who owned the land at Spring 
Point, where Fort Preble now is. He may 
have been granted it by the town. This John 
Wallis, with many others, returned to Spring 
Point in the spring of 1703, as peace had been 
declared. There were then nine families living 
near that Point not protected by any garrison. 
The Indians came suddenly npon them, in 
Angnst, while the men were away, and killed 
twenty-five persons and took several prisoners. 
Among the killed were Thomas Lovitt and 
his family, Joel Mediver, and the wives of 
Josiah and Benjamin Wallis and of Michael 
Webber. The wife of Joseph Wallis was 
taken captive. Webber's w T ife was horribly 
mutilated and several children were killed. 
Josiah Wallis escaped and carried his son 
John, then abont seven years of age, to Spur- 
wink, part of the way on his back. For many 
years after no one lived there. 

In the division of John Wallis' estate, in 
1724, it was agreed among the family that 
House Island should be kept for the equal 
benefit of all the heirs and not divided. The 
children were Josiah, James, Joseph, Benja- 
min, and Susannah Wallis. Perhaps Dorcas 
Lane, wife of John, was a daughter, and 
Joshua Woodbury was interested in the estate, 
his wife's name being Sarah. 


Martha Munjoy, wife of Josiah, of Bos- 
ton, who was a grandson of George Munjoy, 
sold, in 1722, one-ninth of House Island 
to Col. Penn Townsend, of Boston. Townsend 
sold the next day one-half of his purchase to 
John Buttolph. These fragments of the title 
to the island were probably purchased by 
Parson Smith until he had acquired one-third, 
as he stated in 1742. 

Peter Woodbury, of Cape Elizabeth, a son 
of Joshua, purchased House Island of the 
Wallises and Parson Thomas Smith, and, in 
1798, he sold it to Abigail Barstow for $333.33. 
She became the wife of John Allen, in 1800, 
who soon died. Then she. married, in 1803, 
Enoch Hsley, being his third wife, and died 
in 1842, aged 88 years. 

Jedediah Collins, a merchant of Portland, 
purchased the island in 1799 at an advanced 
price of one hundred dollars, and sold it at 
the same figure to John Green Walden, in 
1801, who was then living on the island. The 
purchase price indicates that whatever house 
there was then there must have been of 
little value. Walden probably built, soon 
after his purchase, the present old house, 
where he lived. In 1808 he sold the southern 
half of the island, about twenty acres, to the 


United States, and the deed of that land has 
the only reference to the name Howe's, as 
applied to the name of the island. There 
appears no reason for it, as no person of that 
name, as far as known, ever owned the island. 

John Green Walden came from Salem and 
carried on fishing and farming. His son, 
Capt. Green Walden, who died at Cape Eliza- 
beth in 1875, aged 78 years, was a coxwain of 
a guard boat in the harbor during the War of 
1812, and received a pension for the service. 
In 1830 he was appointed second lieutenant 
in the revenue service, promoted to first lieu- 
tenant the same year, and was made captain 
in 1838. He served in the Mexican War with 
credit and retired from the service in 1857. 
A writer who knew him personally said of 
him that " he was a courageous man who was 
always seeking an opportunity to assist 
another." The father, John Green Walden, 
had another son named Nathaniel, and daugh- 
ters Mary, and Anne who married Edward 
Mansfield, in 1817, and lived on Peaks Island. 
John Green Walden's wife, Mary, died in 
1843, aged 76 years. 

John Sterling bought an interest in one- 
half of House Island in 1822 and moved there. 
The next year Henry Trefethen, both from 


Monhegan Island and relatives, purchased 
the balance of the title to one-half of the 
island and also moved there. They soon 
after each owned one-quarter of the island by 
purchase. Both were engaged in fishing, but 
separately. One-half of the island is now 
owned by the United States, one-quarter by 
Alpheus G. Sterling, who lives there, and the 
other quarter by George Trefethen, trustee, 
and Harriett Skillings, his sister. It was 
used for fishing purposes up to within a 
few years, but the flakes so familiar to our 
younger days are used no more. In early 
times, probably, the island was covered with 
trees and bushes, but they have long since 
been destroyed. 

When the first Fort Scammel was built, in 
1808-9, on the highest point was erected an 
octagonal block-house of timber, with a point- 
ed roof of eight sides, on which was placed a 
carved wooden eagle with extended wings. 
On each of the eight sides of the block-house 
was an embrasure or port-hole and a gun. 
The upper story projected over the lower story 
two or three feet, and the buildiug was painted 
white. It presented from the harbor a pictur- 
esque appearance. During the rebuilding of 
the fort, about the beginning of the Rebellion, 


the block-house was taken down. The fort was 
named for Gen. Alexander Scammel, a gallant 
officer of the Revolution, and a classmate and 
friend of Gen. Peleg Wadsworth. In case of 
an emergency Fort Scammel could be used to 
defend the main channel and White Head 
passage with but slight alterations for modern 

The story is told. It is but a part of Port- 
land's history, a city u seated by the sea," that 
has no rival as a summer home. Those who 
here live know its beauties, and those who 
spend their vacation days in our harbor 
depart with its praises warm upon their lips. 
Longfellow, who was born in "an old square 
wooden house upon the edge of the sea," says : 

" I remember the bulwarks by the shore, 
And the fort upon the hill ; 
The sunrise gun with its hollow roar, 
The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er, 
And the bugle wild and shrill. 
And the music of that old song 
Throbs in my memory still: 
'A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, 
long thoughts.'"